Learn to Fly

Over this past week I’ve seen a few YouTube videos of kids that do incredible things. We’ve all seen those six year olds that are amazing musicians or professional skaters. What follows is either a negative outlook on ourselves (“why don’t have I something I’m that good at?”) or a wishful/ill-conceived plan of action (“if this kid can do it, so can I!”).

This kid is totally better than me at skating. But he's pretty cute.

Like most people, I watch someone doing something they enjoy and are good at and instantly the gears in my head start turning. I fantasize for hours about how sweet my life would be if I could just get up and do these things. My list of goals that I have set for myself is enormous; here are just a few examples:

Learn how to skateboard

Brew my own beer

Learn a foreign language (or several), including French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Farsi, etc.

Write a novel

Earn a helicopter pilot’s license

Become a professional musician

Become a rally racer

And other things that may or may not be typical of a modern person. When I realize though that my time is limited and only a few desires are within reach of satisfying, it is difficult to reject dreams with so much passion behind them, but the list remaining greatly exemplifies who I want to be.

I want to be an engineer. But after keeping this blog for a few months now, I still have not explained why.

Like many children, I enjoyed taking things apart. I also enjoyed watching things happen: systems of physical or abstract nature attract my eye like pollen to a bee. I had, and have still, a desire for order and understanding.

More importantly than all of these, I love making things work together.

I see a career, a hobby, and a mindset of engineering as a means of working towards that statement. I get a genuine reward, as if some sort of magic tells my brain that things working together is beautiful and worthy of all my effort. Everything from molecules that interact with magnetic or gravitaional forces to man-made satellites syncing in harmony to people that make up a group in which the sum is greater than the parts is beautiful and worthy of my effort. Engineering encompasses all of this.

GhostRider at Knotts Berry Farm, my favorite roller coaster

The first manifestation of my passion came from roller coasters. I have drawn roller coasters for years (except not as often recently), and the movement and roar of the train is one of the greatest excitements I know. When a few weeks of my life go by without a roller coaster, I become agitated easily. As I grew older and fell in love, Ashley showed me the wonders of Disneyland, and I began to look to Walt Disney as a mentor and friend, despite not living at the same time. I love the ideas Disney had to bring people, animals, amusements, technology, and imagination together. A life without Disney is a life I don’t want to live.

My nature drives me to try new things, which is why my focus seems to have shifted from Disney and amusement parks to Boeing and aerospace recently, but my desire burns for both. I thoroughly enjoy new experiences because I have never looked back on a trip I took or a place I went with regret. It makes me happy to say I don’t waste my time. Even though I may daydream for a bit about skateboarding or making music, I quickly remember the joys I get from the work I do and apply these new thoughts to my work. How refreshing is a dynamic lifestyle centered on something I love?

It is easy to get stuck in deciding how we want to live our lives when so many people seem to be happy on the other side. I’m thankful this season for the choices I have made so that I can move on with my life. I hope each of you finds peace and prosperity in whatever drives your desires.

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~ by MichaelStaudenmeir on November 12, 2010.

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